The genre of the hunting film is not a genre that I have come across many times as I’ve scrolled through Netflix. There’s the odd horror, the odd action movie. However, despite first appearances, this was far from a movie just about hunting – it was a movie about a father trying to understand his son.
The Legacy of a Whitetail Deer Hunter follows Buck (Josh Brolin) and his best friend Don (Danny McBride), who make hunting videos together. In this particular escapade, Buck and Don decide to capture the moment Buck’s son kills his first deer. After various interruptions, including a middle-school girlfriend and a shot gone wrong, this movie depicts the bond between father and son better than a lot of stereotypical family movies I have ever seen.
The characters themselves within this movie are brilliantly played and written. For an average movie overall, they are the highlight: they bring life to what otherwise would be a really boring story. The dynamic between Buck and, his son, Jaden,is almost too real – they are scarily good at playing father and son.
Buck deals with the break up of his family throughout the movie: in a particularly heartbreaking scene, Buck discovers that Jaden has been calling his step-father ‘dad’. His reaction to this, and his general handling of the situations thrown at him, shows how he is multi-faceted. He can be unreasonable and bad-tempered and demanding, but he is also sensitive and caring and full of love for everyone around him.
Jaden is just like his dad. With such strong characters acting so closely together, you would think that it wouldn’t gel as well as it has. However, the strength of both characters is in different parts. Jaden is fun and rule-breaking, whereas Buck is regimented and controlling. These quarreling ideologies only make it way more interesting when the two characters squabble themselves.
The balancing force of the movie, however, is Don. Don is Buck’s best friend, and the ‘cool uncle’ type around Jaden. He his obsessed with sex references and is completely in love with his girlfriend. Don takes things as they come, putting up with just how controlling Buck is constantly. Granted, Don is a bit of a nothingness character, but without him, the whole dynamic of the movie would be thrown off.
The Legacy of a Whitetail Deer Hunter has a very simple plot. So simple, in fact, that not a lot happens. There’s some hunting of whitetail deers, and some family bonding, but that’s about it. Overall, it isn’t the most entertaining movie: what’s entertaining is what the characters do with it.
As far as a father-son adventure movie goes, this is a good example. As far as movies about hunting go, this is a bad example. Although the entire movie is set around a hunting weekend, the main focus is on the growing relationship between the three men.
Considering The Legacy of a Whitetail Deer Hunter is only 80 minutes long, they use the time awfully well. Not a lot happens, but what does happen, is there for a reason. It is a known fact that boys are very good at making bad decisions. If there has ever been a movie to prove that (other than Jackass) it’s this one. We have random shootings, machine guns in the woods, and a very badly thought out attempt at a zip wire. From the start, the entire situation does not bode well.
However, what all of these events have in common is that they’re fun. Throughout the entire movie, it is undeniable that the entire group are having fun whilst on this trip. They’re making memories, creating relationships and growing closer to each other. Even though the actual movie isn’t even that entertaining, you find yourself leaning into the story because you want to see what else they will get up to.
For an 80 minute movie, this isn’t half bad. Granted, there are probably better uses of your time on Netflix, but if you’re looking for a short movie that doesn’t require a lot of effort to follow, this is the one for you. It’s mildly funny, mildly sad and mildly boring. This movie is the epitome of mild.